12-1 MN COVID-19 Update: Vaccine for Kids Will Come After Adults
MN COVID-19 Update from the Minnesota Department of Health 12-1-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Tuesday, Dec. 1, to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 63.3 million cases since start of pandemic (up 500,000); 1.47 million deaths
- In U.S., 13.5 million cases since pandemic began (up 161,000); 268,000 deaths (up 1,216)
- In Minnesota, 322,312 total cases (up 3,570 over prior reporting day on testing volume of 22,757)
- Latest COVID-19 doesn’t reflect Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Case numbers from holiday weekend likely won’t be reflected for another two-three weeks due to time it takes for people to get tested, the incubation period of the virus (up to 14 days), and the time it takes to process results.
- Of the 322,312 cases, 279,540 (87%) are no longer considered infectious.
- In Minnesota 3,615 total deaths (up 22 over prior reporting day)
- Of the 22 new deaths – 17 were residents of long-term care/assisted living
- 1,840 people currently hospitalized; 394 patients with COVID-19 are in Minnesota hospital intensive care unit beds, a new daily high
- Seven-day case positivity rate is 11.2% (Using data through Nov. 22). That’s down from 14.4% a week prior and 15.4% two weeks ago.
- “It’s too early to consider this a permanent trend,” said Malcolm. Expects challenging weeks ahead with hospital capacity.
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann:
- The endgame for COVID-19 is the vaccine, she said. “Vaccines are the exit strategy from the pandemic.”
- The fact we’re talking about vaccine now less than a year after virus was identified is “truly amazing.”
- Corners cut to get vaccine ready? Ehresmann: No.
- Why is that? Manufacturing can occur before it’s approved for use because the federal government is covering the cost if it fails to meet stringent requirements.
- “The ways we’ve been efficient has not impacted safety of the vaccine,” Ehresmann.
- Clinical trials done same as in previous years with similar numbers of people and diverse subsets.
- Pfizer and Moderna have submitted data for FDA review and approval. Approval expected in next couple weeks. (Dec. 10 review for Pfizer and Dec. 17 for Moderna)
- Data show vaccine from these two companies is 95% effective
- CDC deciding today on how to distribute vaccine.
- Phase I – priority expected to be health care workers administered at private settings
- Phase II – vaccine will be distributed to public pharmacy and clinic sites, the most vulnerable expected to receive vaccine in this phase.
- Phase III – vaccine will be in plentiful supply for public.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Expect briefing next week with Governor Tim Walz on vaccine distribution
- “I celebrate every day where case numbers are lower than the day before,” said Ehresmann. Mentioned testing volume decreased during Thanksgiving holiday week. Too early to say if Minnesota peaked after spike in cases the past few weeks (Governor ordered restrictions to take effect Saturday, Nov. 21).
- On ICU bed situation: Concern has shifted from physical capacity of beds and equipment to staffing shortages, said Malcolm.
- On whether state-purchased building will be needed for a mortuary: “We certainly hope not,” said Malcolm. MDH officials have said that purchase was a matter of looking ahead.
- MDH has teams of contact tracers that work with different sectors of the economy, including the college and university sector. The Minnesota Golden Gopher football team works with MDH on contact tracing. Gophers also have daily testing, but testing not foolproof, but “certainly helps a lot,” said Ehresmann. Players could get exposed to virus before test results come back.
- On long-term care staffing issues: “We are working with 56 facilities currently that have staffing support needs,” said Malcolm. MDH has ability to mobilize trained MN National Guard medical workers.
- On effects of vaccine on children: Vaccine won’t be available to kids right away. Just starting to include children in clinical trials, said Ehresmann. Not enough data with kids. Ehresmann expects more data to come. Vaccinations for kids will come after adults.